Diabolus of the Dead
A thick haze began to consume the air over the bay. Within moments of leaving the dock, the fog took over any forward sight. Even so, Marty continued thrusting their newly acquired speed boat in the direction of the main tower, the neon stripe on its side peaking through the sheets of mist like a beacon.
Linda glanced back at the fairgrounds they had escaped from, the attractions growing smaller and fainter the further out they traveled. She could barely make out the small forms of the undead guests lingering about the abandoned port.
She settled back down into her seat and released a heavy sigh, letting the rush of wind blow her sensors back. She rested her bloody, dented lamp on the floor to ease her tight muscles. She didn't remember ever being so tired and sore before. They needed rest, decent rest, some time very soon. She hadn't a clue how much longer they could go on in their current state. However, where and how they'd find it she simply didn't know.
"Marty?" she looked at her companion seated beside her, "How far do you think this disease has spread?"
The blacorite leaned back in his seat, draping one arm over the back of his chair while the other rested on the steering wheel. His eyes still adorned with shades, he glanced at her and replied over the roar of the engine, "Heck if I know. The food crap was spread world-wide but I don't have the faintest idea how many batches were infected."
The woman couldn't help but shudder. "So
the whole planet could potentially be overflowing with walking dead?"
Marty responded with nothing more than a shrug.
The idea alone made the woman feel sick. "I-I wonder if we could call in a ship to take us out of here. If one would even dare come that is
"Hell no!" The boss immediately lowered the throttle, slowing the boat down and quieting the engine. He pulled off his glasses and gave the woman a hard glare. "We're not abandoning my planet by running away like a bunch of pansies!"
"We've been running away!" Linda retorted, sending a glare of her own, "Would you honestly rather get eaten alive by a bunch of crazy people than escape and find a way to fix the problem from the outside?"
The question caused a brief moment of silence between the two, only the hum of the engine audible. Marty grumbled and returned his shades to his face before replying, "Let's just stick to the current plan, alright? If I can get Bernard back we won't have to think of anything else."
"If you say so, Marty
" Linda turned her attention back to the foggy water.
Instead of speeding up the boat, the boss kept at the steady pace. His hands fidgeted on the wheel and his eyes kept darting between what lay ahead of him and to his female counterpart. He knew the tense air between them had still not been completely settled. The lack of cutesy nicknames practically gave it away.
Despite his initial hesitation at delving into the woman's feelings, he couldn't resist bringing his curiosities aloud. "So, uh
at Stacheman's restaurant
a couple times I thought you were going to let me get my snout chopped off. If we're going to be a team in this, I'd sorta prefer you actually, you know, have my back when it comes down to it. As opposed to letting my back get ripped from my flesh."
A brief smile appeared on the female's face before quickly disappearing. She ran her fingers along the stitching on her seat, not meeting eyes with the man. "I won't, don't worry. It's just
I dunno. A lot was going through my mind then."
"You didn't seem to think twice about smacking Ginny upside the head."
"Jeeves was different," the woman's tone intensified and her sensors fell back. She closed her eyes and shook the anger off, letting her voice return to its previous calmness. "I've been an ass to him since I came here because of what he did to me before we broke up, but that doesn't change the fact we
you know. Had something at one time."
Marty's hands tensed on the wheel and his eyes fell away. He didn't say anything and the woman sighed. "It's hard to explain. Ginny was bad enough, but it felt sort of
unreal when it happened. It felt different with Jeeves. I thought maybe I was just seeing things. Well
before he started chunking knives at my head."
"You do know the others are probably still out there, right?" Marty questioned irritably, "I know our precious 'Harbear' is one of them. Considering he didn't seem too happy to see me earlier, I wouldn't be surprised if he'd go for a second attempt. Just don't stall and let him plunge some sort of sharp implement into me, will ya?"
"I'm being serious, you know."
Linda sent him a sharp glare, "So am I. We have to trust each other. Right, partner?"
With a devious smile, Marty looked back to the water before him and reached his hand down to increase the throttle. The engine revved and the boat sped up, its front end raising up slightly from the increase in speed.
They traveled a short distance when suddenly a loud thump was heard, followed immediately by the clanging and scratching of the motor. The boat came to an abrupt halt, sending water splashing up over its nose. The two blacorite were nearly flung forward as a result.
"The hell is wrong now?!" Marty growled in frustration, tossing his sunglasses onto the console.
Both turned around in their seats to inspect the stalled motor behind them. It didn't take them long to notice a thick pool of red liquid spreading through the water. A large mob of flesh came floating to the surface, large gashes lining its slick body. Its form and features were unidentifiable with the exception of its sea creature-like skin. The two blacorite exchanged a confused glance before sliding back into their seats.
"I think I may have killed Flipper," Marty said as he turned off the engine. He glanced back at the mangled form again then turned to Linda, "Well, don't just sit there. Fix the motor!"
"Me?!" the woman exclaimed, "I don't know anything about boat engines!"
"Neither do I! But at least you, you know
have those manly muscles and shiz."
Linda released a tired sigh and began to pull herself out of the seat. "Well, you are pretty fragile. I can try at least."
Crawling onto the back of the boat, she steadied herself against the slight rocking of the waves. She wrapped her tail around the back of her seat, using it as an anchor. She then carefully reached down toward the motor, glancing up at the mound of floating flesh just a couple yards out. A small, rounded handle stood out near the bottom of the motor and she grabbed onto it. Even after a couple hard tugs, the motor still remained where it was.
When she went for a third try, a splash caught her sight and she swore she saw a fin flicker from the top of the water's surface. She tried to ignore it and attempt to lift the motor again. To her surprise, instead of the motor lifting into the air, a slick-coated creature did: a creature aiming straight at her hand.
"EEK!" the woman screeched, yanking her hand away just as a long-jawed fish came snapping at where her hand was once placed.
In such a shock, the blacorite slipped from the boat's tail and fell backward onto her bewildered boss. Her weight threw him against the side of the boat where he let out a painful wail.
"Get your fatass off me, woman!" he screamed as he struggled to shove her off.
As he pushed his legs against her, his head dangled off the side of the boat. Almost instantly sharp teeth breached from the water and snapped just inches from his shocked face. With a frightened squeal, he pulled himself back into the boat, clinging tightly to his confused counterpart.
"What the hell was that?!" he shrieked.
Before the woman could reply, another splash of water erupted and the fish once again resurfaced, this time aiming its sights on the front of the boat. With its full body exposed, the large creature flopped atop the boat's extended front, a black substance spewing from its open jaws. After sliding around the drenched surface, it slipped off the side and plopped into the murky bay.
The two blacorite stared at the black liquid staining the front, then at one another. Linda spoke up for them both by saying, "That's not a good sign."
Her words rung true when just a moment later a spray of water was sent into the boat, along with a slick-skinned surface and a spew of dark bile. The giant fish came soaring into their seats, its jaws snapping repeatedly into the empty air. Linda let out a scream and pulled herself onto the back of the boat. Marty snatched his crowbar from the console and promptly whacked the creature across its face. A deep score crossed its eye, ripping the bulb from its socket. It floundered about in its aimless venture until Marty swiftly kicked it, sending it falling back into the depths of the bay.
"Are you kidding me?! Fish can be zombies too?!" Linda yelled, trying to balance herself against the rocking of the boat, "What the hell else can go--" Her words were abruptly cut off as a wet hand grabbed at her unprotected wrist. She turned around to come face to face with a humanoid being, its eyes white and empty. A webbed hand held onto her as it snarled with rows of razor sharp teeth.
The albino woman clenched her free fist and slammed it hard into the beast's face, forcing it to release its grip. The rocking of the boat nearly sent her falling in with it, but, in reflex, her tail wrapped around the nearest object, which happened to be Marty's own tail.
"Woman, this is no time for flirting!" Marty chastised as he tried to writhe his blue-striped tail away from hers. In his failed attempts at gaining his freedom, he didn't notice the long appendage making its way into the boat. He turned around just in time to see a long tentacle shoot out and wrap itself around his thigh.
"HELL to the NO!" the man sneered in disgust. With a quick whack with his crowbar, the slimy tentacle was sliced in half.
In the wake of its retreat, two more tentacles sprung out from the water. They grabbed the man with a much firmer grip than before and his crowbar was nearly squeezed out of his grasp. The blacorite's strength was of little match to the muscular arms and he found himself being pulled forward into the misty water.
"Help me!!" he yelled, his tone consumed with fright. He clenched his tail tighter around his companion's in a desperate effort to keep himself from being taken down. The pull from even more tentacles on the boat's side forced the machine to tilt in an awkward angle, splashing water into its cockpit.
"I can't!" the woman screeched. Yet another one of the humanoid creatures had held on tightly to her arm, keeping her in her place and trying with all its might to drag her down as well. She repeatedly punched the creature, her knuckles splattered with blood and vomit. Two more creatures of the same race lunged from the water, teaming up to help their companion reel in their fair share of fresh meat.
The two blacorite struggled against their own foes, only their entwined tails keeping them in the boat itself. Marty's fatigue came upon him fast and his defense faltered; his legs could no longer bear against the sides and the tentacles pulled him overboard. Linda's pink-tipped tail held onto his for a brief moment before they too disconnected and the boss completely vanished into the waves.
"Marty!" the woman's voice cried over the snarls of the beasts.
When the last monstrous appendage had released itself from the side, the boat was thrown back into his natural position, flinging the woman and the undead beings backward. Linda yanked herself free and slid against the back end of the boat, her claws snagging a metal handle atop it. A compartment opened up to reveal a small collection of freshly caught fish inside. Linda ignored the finding at first, her eyes instead falling onto the bubbling surface of Marty's last where-abouts. She scanned the area as hard as she could, panic welling up in her chest.
No, no, no! This isn't happening! her fearful thoughts rattled around her mind. She knew if the man wasn't being consumed by the creature, he would surely be drowning. At worst, a single deep wound within the depths could shock his circuits. Each fate ultimately ended in death.
As she frantically looked around, she realized the mass of bleeding flesh from earlier, the animal they had run over, was nowhere to be found. The hell? Wasn't it here just a second ago? Several options ran through her mind: it could have been alive after all and swam away, it could have sunk to the bottom, heck, it could have been one of the undead too for all she knew.
It was a fourth option that gave her an idea.
She turned back to the pack of creatures who, to her foolish surprise, were clambering onto the boat. All three were struggling to pull themselves up, their bottom-halves bearing long fish-like bodies that were much too heavy and clumsy to assist them. Even so they clawed out at their prey and hissed in rage.
Linda returned her attention to the box of fish and plunged her hand into it. She removed it with a decent sized fish, a blue stripe shimmering down its side. With a swipe of the blacorite's claws, trickles of blood came pouring down its scales. She tossed it at one of the fish-people on the bow of the boat, slapping it right into its face. The fresh blood instantly drew its attention and it snapped its jaws onto the uncontaminated flesh. The other two scented the catch and their heads jerked in its direction.
Her heart pounding, Linda quickly grabbed the rest of the catch and scored their sides before tossing them as far as she could into the foggy water. Just as expected, the creatures turned and flopped into the bay, their lust for blood too overwhelming to deny.
Free of her own attackers, the albino peered down to where Marty was taken under. Her breath rapid, she didn't know what to do. It had been so long. Was he dead already? Had he been eaten, or worse? She could easily jump in after him, but would it be worth it? Would it just be another suicidal mission? If he had been killed already, she would be risking her own life. The dead fish wouldn't distract the creatures for long.
Feeling as if she had no choice, she took a deep breath and leapt from the safety of the boat and dove in. The cold bay poured over her head and tingled at her rubber skin. She didn't even try to kick her legs back up to the surface. Instead she turned her body around and swam into the darkness. Her pink stripes hardly lit up anything in the black void. The lack of a sun in the sky did not help her see any further down. She tried as hard as she could to spy the subtlest shift of movement. Her hopes began to fade with every passing second.
A sharp whack against her side nearly released all the air in her lungs. She fought the rise of fear and grabbed at the object; a smooth surface grazed her hands. Grabbing hold, she could feel the tightening muscles and knew she had found the right creature. The suction-cupped arms wrapped around her waist and she was pulled deeper down. She resisted the urge to fight back in a pathetic hope her only living friend was still trapped too.
Then she spotted it. The foggy glow of azure stripes.
Right when she felt her prayers had been answered, instead of finding a fellow blacorite, she instead met the glowing eyes of a massive cephalopod. Its rounded head was plastered with blue glowing stripes, similar to those of her boss. An intense surge of fear rushed through her and she kicked and clawed at the creature as hard as she could.
It came as a shock when the creature almost immediately let go. The slimy arm released her and the creature seemed to shrivel back in pain. She peered through the void to see a flailing of blue: this one distinctly blacorite. Marty, crowbar still in hand, whacked the creature across the face, aiming for one of its large eyes. His strikes were weak through the resistance of the water, but it still hit its mark.
A strange rush of adrenaline, anger, and instinct took over Linda's body. With all her strength, she swam forward until her arms came in contact with the man's near-limp form. The tentacles that held him down slipped off as the woman pulled him away. In a final try at escaping, Linda felt her feet press against the creature before she shoved her weight against it, sending her and her companion upwards.
The dark, foggy depths slowly began to fade into a hazy gray. Faster than she had even expected, Linda broke through the surface, taking in a heavy breath through her vents. Marty weakly did the same, his head barely able to hold itself above the surface. The woman held onto him as she swam back towards the boat, her body and mind growing numb.
"B-Ber-n-nard," Marty coughed up, water spewing from the slits in his mouth. He still held his crowbar in his hand, refusing to let go as if it were his beloved staff.
got you," Linda said between breaths. She struggled to paddle her way to the boat, but her determination continued to fuel her. Paranoid that the blood-thirsty creatures would soon return, she aimed straight at the small ladder on the back, grabbing onto it with her free hand the moment it came within reach.
"Marty, c-climb up," she ordered, shoving the man upward. He did not comply, or even make a notion that he acknowledged a word she had said. "Marty, w-wake up! Climb up
Weakly, he reached out a hand to the metal bars. Linda pushed against his dead weight, trying her best to help him. He barely managed to get a firm hold before Linda shoved him onto the back of the boat. She quickly climbed up the ladder herself, straddling the man's still form. She picked him up the best she could and practically threw him into the safety of the cockpit.
"Marty?! W-wake up!" Linda begged, kneeling down over her companion. She gently put her hands around his slender snout to raise up his head. He did not react in the slightest. His eyes remained closed, his chest rising rapidly. A gurgling noise emitted from his throat and his stripes began to quickly fluctuate.
"Marty! Get up!" With fist balled tightly, the woman launched it down onto the man's chest. Instantly he shot up, expelling water from his vents like a waterfall. He released a hacking cough before groaning and finally opening his eyes.
He looked around warily, uncertain of where he was and what had just happened. Linda quickly looked him over, searching his body for fresh wounds; the man did not detest it. His chest continued to heave but otherwise he appeared unscathed, with the exception of his previous scratches and scrapes.
Content with this, Linda stood up and headed to the boat's console. As she attempted at restarting the boat, Marty lifted his head and rubbed his eyes. He brought himself up to his knees, clearing his throat of excess water. When he spoke again, his voice was tired and scratchy. "D-Damn. That
that was w-worse than hentai
The sudden roaring of the motor brought a huge sense of relief to the frantic Linda. Without giving it a second though, she thrust the throttle forward, sending the boat soaring back over the bay. Keeping one hand on the steering wheel, she leaned over and slapped the blue-striped man across the face with the other.
The man squealed in pain and rubbed his sore cheek. "Wh-what was that f-for?!"
"You owe me so much more for that one!"
The anger in her voice startled the man but he did not dare retort. He was much too exhausted to anyway. His eyes instead fell onto the crowbar in his hand. A flash of disappointment crossed his blue eyes and he dropped it onto the wet floor. With the little bit of strength he had left, he pulled himself onto the passenger's seat, resting his head on his arm.
"R-Remind me, when I get B-Bernard back
that I seriously need to r-revamp the aquatic specimens in this place."
A grin crossed Linda's face and she shakily began to laugh. Her laughter grew louder and Marty couldn't help but join in. The short roar of amusement ended in heavy breaths and teary eyes.
Still with a smile, the woman said with confidence to her partner, "If we could survive that, we can survive anything."
The two sped across the remainder of the bay, the main tower - their destination - peering out from the heavy fog. Its cyan stripe glowed brightly through the mist, and the boat's engine disguised the thousands of hungry growls from the undead in the streets before it.